Saturday, December 24, 2011


Arianrhod ("Silver Wheel", or "Queen of the Wheel"), is the Welsh Goddess of the Wheeling Stars, and one of the Children of Dôn, the Welsh mother goddess and counterpart to Danu. Arianrhod is the virgin mother of Lleu Llaw Gyffes, hero of light, and Dylan, child of the sea.

She is a celestial goddess, and Her realm is called Caer Sidi, which likely means "Revolving Castle"; Caer Sidi is depicted as a great turning island surrounded by Sea and located in the North. It is also one of the names for the realm of Annwn, the Otherworld or land of the dead, and is described as a wonderful place, with no sickness or old age and sweet music always playing. Both the spinning of the castle and its location in the North connect it with the Pole Star, around which the heavens swirl. Her castle, Caer Arianrhod, is said to be the constellation of Corona Borealis, also called Ariadne's Crown. Ariadne appears to be a distant relative; she shares with Arianrhod the imagery of spiral movement and a central star, in the turnings of the labyrinth and in its inhabitant--on Crete, the Minotaur was sometimes called Asterios, "Star".

Alternate spellings: Aranrhod, Arianrod.
Pronunciation: ahr-ee-AHN-hrod
From: Here

Arianrhod is a figure in Welsh mythology who plays her most important role in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi. She is the daughter of Dôn and the sister of Gwydion and Gilfaethwy; the Welsh Triads give her father as Beli Mawr. In the Mabinogi her uncle Math ap Mathonwy is the King of Gwynedd, and during the course of the story she gives birth to two sons, Dylan Eil Ton and Lleu Llaw Gyffes, through magical means.


The name "Arianrhod" (from the Welsh arian, "silver", and rhawd, "wheel") may have been derived from Proto-Celtic *Arganto-rotā, meaning "silver wheel". Alternately, the earliest form of the name may have been Aranrot, in which case the first part of the name would be related to "Aran".

From: Wiki
Arianrhod ("silver wheel", thus, the moon), is one of the descendants of Don. She had two brothers, Gilfaethwy and Gwydion the sister of Math ap Mathonwy, whose quality was that he required a virgin's lap to place his feet in, unless he was at war. When this virgin was raped, Math asked for a replacement, and Arianrhod volunteered. But when she stepped over his rod, she immediately gave birth to two children: a young boy and a blob. (This is likely because the word morwyn may mean either 'virgin' or 'free young woman', but it also indicates her divine status.)

The boychild was named Dylan; he was a sea-being who returned to the waves. The blob was snatched up by Arianrhod's brother Gwydion, who hid it in a chest until it grew into a baby. Arainrhod imposed three geases upon this boy: he would have no name unless she named him, he would bear no arms unless she armed him, and he would have no human woman to wife. Thus, Arianrhod denied him the three essential passages to manhood. Nevertheless, Gwydion raised the nameless boy, and one day Arianrhod spied a young boy killing a wren with a single flung stone. She called out that he was a bright lion with a sure hand, and thus he took that name: Llew Llaw Gyffes. Later, Gwydion faked an alarm, and tricked her into arming the boy.

The goddess of the "silver wheel" was a Welsh sorceress who, surrounded by women attendants, lived on the isolated coastal island of Caer Arianrhod. Beautiful and pale of complexion, Arianrhod was the most powerful of the mythic children of the mother goddess Don.

It was said that she lived a wanton life, mating with mermen on the beach near her castle and casting her magic inside its walls. She tried to pretend virginity, but a trial by the magician Math revealed that she had conceived two children whom she had not carried to term: in leaping over a wizard's staff, Arianrhod magically gave birth to the twins Dylan-son-of-Wave and the fetus of Llew Llaw Gyffes. Dylan slithered away and disappeared, but Arianrhod's brother, the poet Gwydion, recognized the fetus as his own child, born of his unexpressed love for his sister.

Gwydion took the fetus and hid it in a magical chest until it was ready to breathe. Arianrhod, furious at this invasion of her privacy, denied the child a name or the right to bear arms - two prerogatives of a Welsh mother-but Gwydion tricked Arianrhod into granting them. Eventually the goddess overreached herself, creating more magic than she could contain; her island split apart, and she and her maidservants drowned.

Some scholars read the legend as the record of a change from mother right to father rule, claiming that the heavenly Arianrhod was a matriarchal moon goddess whose particular place in heaven was in the constellation called Corona Borealis. The argument has much in its favor, particularly the archetypal relation of Arianrhod to her sister moon goddesses on the Continent, who like Artemis lived in orgiastic maidenhood surrounded entirely by women. Other scholars, unconvinced that the Celts were matriarchal at any time, see Arianrhod simply as an epic heroine.

From: Here
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